CROWDS are set to gather today as the town centre hosts a packed evening of cycling.

Kicking off Barnsley’s Big Weekend, the Barnsley Town Centre Races will see cyclists of all abilities, from under 12s, to amateurs and even the men’s and women’s national circuit series race.

Chris Lawrence, organiser for the event, said: “The last two years have been really unsettling for everyone so having this in Barnsley town centre is a really good, positive thing for the town. UK wide there has been a real appetite for outdoor events that we didn’t have before.

“We encourage everyone to come along. It’s really down to the excellent support of the council who are real advocates for cycling in the borough.”

The action begins at 4pm with a ceremonial opening from the Mayor and a social community ride for younger families, and finishes with the national circuit series at 8.45pm.

Over 300 entrants will take part in the event sponsored by Barnsley College and Schwalbe Tyres UK, with many top end stars set to appear – including British CX and road rider Josie Nelson and previous European Track Championship bronze medal holder Matthew Bostock.

The course will take on streets across town including Eastgate, Regent Street, Mandela Gardens, Eldon Street, Market Hill and Church Street, where the finish line will be set.

Roads closures will be in place across the town centre from 3pm-11pm to prepare the route, as well as many car parking spaces suspended.

Commentary and music will accompany the racing as it gets underway.